Creating Eco-Friendly Businesses: Interview with Anousha Junggee
Anousha Junggee is a leader in creating Eco-friendly businesses in Africa: she is the co-founder and director at 1950 Design & Print and founder of Eco Hustle Co Ltd , a company that has two Eco-friendly brands: Sakili (up-cycled bags made from used billboard) and Recycle Moi (100% biodegradable sanitary napkins).
Anousha represent the true definition of an Eco-entrepreneur: her career started in a different field, but she then successfully made a transition to entrepreneurship. All her companies are innovative, they have strong SDGs foundations and she follows the principles of the SDGs both while working at work and during her daily life tasks.
We have reached Anousha Junggee to speak about her life and companies. How could she inspire other people to run similar projects?
Could you please introduce yourself and what you do to our readers?
Anousha Junggee: I started my career as a trainee reporter at sixteen. Following high-school, I worked at the top newspaper and radio station of Mauritius. After eight years of working full-time, I decided to take on the adventure of becoming an entrepreneur. Together with my husband, we founded 1950 Studio; after six years of local operations, we are now expanding on the sub-Saharan Africa promoting our newborn environmental friendly project, Sakili – Once a Billboard, Now a Bag, which aims to reduce advertising and textile waste.
I come from an entrepreneurial background. My parents are entrepreneurs, dad in the tailoring business and mom in the Indian catering business. They are both very good at what they do. My mom used to teach, she quit her job when I was in college to start her business. One thing that I’ve learned from her is that, once you make your passion your full-time job, you’ll actually never work again. She is so passionate about what she does. It’s amazing!
What motivated you?
Anousha Junggee: I wanted to be rich! I was young, 21, I had one of the most amazing job. I was a press reporter and had a radio show, well paid. I was famous if I can say, but it was still not enough for me. I wanted more, I knew I could do better.
I’m glad I did quit my job. I was scared for sure but it paid off. I am not sure I would be living the life I am living right now with my previous salary.
Who do exactly your companies do?
Anousha Junggee: Nineteen Fifty Design & Print Co Ltd. (1950) focuses on high-quality cost-effective printing and advertising goods & materials for a diverse customer base. The company offer services like vehicle branding, exhibition booth design, supermarket POS display, and billboard printing. 1950 takes pride in its high quality printing output and fast delivery.
The company is well know by the public for the instant printing booth they have in one of the major local shopping centers (Mall of Mauritius). It is the first to propose instant one-off printing for mugs, fridge magnets, mouse pads, t-shirts and many other unique gift ideas. Currently the company is expanding to include new environmental initiatives that upcycle non-renewable PVC materials in order reduce advertising waste that goes to landfills. This is the core of Sakili – Once A Billboard, Now A Bag project.
Sakili, is my up-cycling brand – bags made from advertising and textile waste. It was launched officially in April 2017. Through this venture, we encourage other businesses to consider the environmental impacts of their operations and that we normalize sustainability as a business norm. Typically after an advertising campaign, billboard materials are not bre-used and because of their thick PVC material, they do not biodegrade, causing waste problems. To combat this, up-cycled bags and products allow the material to have a second life and to continue being useful to the consumer in a new way.
We are focused on ensuring that our operations have minimal negative impact on the environment as we believe that protecting our environment is an investment in the future development of our country. Helping Mauritius one billboard at a time is our ultimate goal. Being an island nation, we are the first who are affected by climate change and right now there is an emergency to create awareness regarding same among Mauritians. And I humbly feel that Sakili is a really nice way to create the awareness on this issue while also setting an Eco-friendly fashion trend.
Do you consider yourself a pioneer of circular economy?
Anousha Junggee: 1950 Design & Company knows that environmental impact and sustainability betters their own business and the Mauritian economy. We partner with local companies and organizations that understand and care about environmental sustainability and impact, not just for profit and business expansion, but for a better economy and a better Mauritius.
Instead of dumping their old and used billboards & banners to landfills we ask them to donate them for up-cycling. Once the company makes the pledge we collect the banners on their requests. The partner pledge not only helps their own business to be more sustainable, but to create the conditions for job growth and opportunity by donating all used billboard materials and advertising waste to 1950 Design & Company for the foreseeable future.
We have created a culture of sustainability in Mauritius and we eventually want to set a new trend through our bags, as a medium to send powerful yet fun and short messages to teenagers. Examples of catchy and eye-opening messages to be overlap printed on the bags are: “There is no planet B”, “This used to be a billboard”, “I am a friend of nature”. We are aiming to reaching out to at least 100,000 young persons through our bags by 2020. I can proudly say that at Sakili, we have started building a generation of environment-mindful citizens.
What do you think needs to be done to empower women in Africa and have more initiatives like yours?
Anousha Junggee: Women should come forward themselves and strive to make their idea becomes reality. I firmly believe that if one doesn’t stand for their own idea, nobody will. I am very lucky to be surrounded by strong and powerful women but I also see lazy and laid back ones.
I decided to cut them out of my life, it’s a choice but I am very happy about it. Sorry, I may sound mean but this is true. If you want to move forward and be successful, surround yourself with more powerful persons and definitely those who have something to teach you, lift you up and who are positive. There are so much negativity already out there, I don’t want to bring more of that in my personal space. One last thing, I believe that we women are very powerful, we are optimist and this is the biggest drive to bring success to whatever we endeavor. It’s time to quit complaining and playing the blame game.
What are your thoughts about the SDGs ?
Anousha Junggee: The 17 SDGs make absolute sense to me. I serve as Envoy of Youth to Africa for the International Youth Committee (IYC), a youth organisation which is based in Delhi whereby our mission is to supports youth-led projects that follow the SDGs of the United Nations and facilitates dialogues among the African countries and outside.
My company and activities fall under the SDG 12 and 13 but I think as a responsible citizen, I try to follow and apply the maximum SDGs possible in my daily activities, both personally or professionally.
In the Cover Picture: One of the bags created by Anousha Junggee’s companies. Photo Credit: Anousha Junggee
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com